- 1 of 2 Photos | View More Photos
MILLERSBURG -- Getting the push from the high level of competition in the field was the factor that helped several athletes reach personal records (PRs) at the West Holmes Knights Invite Saturday at Knights Stadium.
Wins by Michelle Hostetler in the 1,600 and Taylor Yerian in the 300 hurdles helped the Knights to a second-place showing behind Carrollton, 119-84.5, in the 14-team field of the Knights Invite. Indian Valley finished third at 83, followed by Rittman (62) and Ridgewood (61) rounding out the top five.
Loudonville finished 10th (26.5) and Waynedale 12th at 13.5. The Golden Bears fielded a partial squad as several team members were celebrating spring break in Florida.
Hostetler, who added a second-place finish in the 3,200, said she loves the competition against Carrollton's standout Maddie Dunlap. The two traded firsts and seconds in the two distance runs.
"We are really competitive together, and I'm glad I can have an athlete like her pushing me," Hostetler said. "It makes me better. Today was special because I know this is my last Knights Invite, and to get a big PR like that for me on my track really makes this special."
Hostetler won the 1,600 in 5:07.74, shaving nearly nine seconds off her previous best time.
The senior ran second to Dunlap in the 3,200 at 11:42 to Dunlap's 11:19.
"Having good competition is always fun, and she's a great athlete," Dunlap said. "I'm really happy when I go to a meet and know she's here. We both hate to lose."
Yerian said she needed the push of Ridgewood's Alexis Prater in the 300 to help her notch the win in 47.55.
"I got off to a bad start and saw that she was ahead of me," Yerian said. "My goal was to come in around 48, and we definitely push each other. I liked her competition, and that definitely helped."
Yerian added a fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles and a sixth in the long jump, finishing just ahead of teammate Kaylin Martin at 14-feet, 11-inches. Martin added a third in the 200 and seventh in the 100. Rittman's fleet-footed freshman Briana Busic took second in the 100 in 13.05.
Rittman's Erica Gasser finished fourth in the long jump at 15-2.
Crystal Barber, first-year girls coach of the Indians, said she hopes she can inspire the girls to achieve their goals.
The 4x100 relay team of Kacie Dingess, Busic, Kenedy Bernadine and Madison Martin combined to take first in their event, clocking in at 52.24.
Dingess, Gasser, Martin and Busic finished second in the 4x200 to lead the Indians.
"It's really early to say, but these girls are capable of achieving some high goals," Barber said. "Anything can happen. The girls are really focused. If they continue to work hard, we'll see."
Other outstanding efforts turned in by area athletes included West Holmes junior Madison Kandel's second-place throws in the shot and discus. Senior Kacie Leppla added a fourth-place fling in the shot put and a seventh-place in the discus. Loudonville's McKenna Haggerty was sixth in the shot put, followed by Waynedale's Sarah Hershberger in seventh.
The Redbirds' 4x800 relay squad of Olivia MacQueen, Rylie Weber, Liz Henley and Emma Hinkle finished fifth, while Rittman's quartet of Madeline LaBouf, Andrea Vale, Victoria Schuster and Hailey Lambert placed seventh.
Waynedale's Cassie Scherer added a pair of seventh-place finishes in the 200 and 400. Mandy Ebert ran eighth.
The Knights 4x200 team of Cassidy Rusnak, Rebecca Kashuba, Hailey Summers and Kaylin Martin finished fifth, the 4x100 foursome of Katy Vaccariello, Summers, Kashuba and Daybria Yerian finished 7th, while the 4x400 team of Vaccariello, Adkins, Kashuba and Daybria Yerian was eighth.